DANCING AND IMMIGRATION DURING THE PANDEMIC
June 20, 2020
As creative artists, dancers quickly find ways to continue their practice throughout world wars, massive budget cuts, and pandemics. These days, they follow classes on Instagram and log onto Zoom classes organized by their teachers and directors. They improvise, film, edit and post sequences of themselves dancing, but in limited and confined ways. Like so many others, after much rehearsal and hard work, they search for closure and new opportunities.
But what about the immigrant dancer, the dancers that by virtue of their raw talent and sheer determination have left their home country to dance in New York City, the dance Mecca, in hopes of making it big, of achieving their dreams?
Shayla Hutton is one such dancer, who has been dancing and training in New York City since leaving Canada for a scholarship that opened the door. She is talented, versatile and was chosen to be in the now defunct Joffrey Concert Group. She danced soloist and principal roles in a diverse repertory of 19th and 20th-century classics and collaborated in the creation of new work.
After a grueling audition period, she is dancing with several small contemporary companies as an apprentice. She is a brilliant, intelligent, and interesting dancer, and she should be sharing her talents without impediment. But the artist visa process is now is harder than ever, and a dancer’s lifetime speeds on.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Nicole Duffy Robertson